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Fountains Abbey

Last year, Lucy and I visited the wonderful and glorious National Trust property that is Fountains Abbey. We had an absolutely amazing day out exploring and soaking up the spectacular grounds and abbey.

Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. It’s just outside Ripon in North Yorkshire, which is a lovely part of the country. Lucy and I were up in Yorkshire around this time last year with her parents on a camping holiday – which was a blast, we had a great time exploring the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. We decided to take advantage of being so far up north to visit this wonderful National Trust property.

Ancient abbey ruins and awe-inspiring water garden make this a World Heritage Site not to miss

For years people have been drawn to this inspiring place. The atmospheric ruins that remain on the property are an epic historic relic and view of a way of life which shaped the medieval world.

With a number of different properties scattered across the site, it kept us busy all day long. We started at the visitor centre, which is probably the nicest visitor centre at a National Trust property that we’ve visited. There was a wonderful cafe where we stopped for something to eat before beginning our adventure.

We stopped at Swanley Grange where they had a wool exhibition. It was more enticing than it sounds – Lucy’s an avid crafter, so she loved it. We carried on to Fountains Hall, which wasn’t fully open to the public but we popped our heads in.

Fountains Mill was one of the highlights for me. There is something incredibly satisfying about an old water mill, the engineering skill and development through the ages is incredibly interesting to me.

The most delicious pork pie I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating

The ruins of the Abbey itself are spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like it. The sheer scale of the place blew me away, I can only imagine what the place looked like in its heyday.

Pristine green lawns stretch along the riverside, where Lucy and I meandered. We stopped once or twice to soak in the surroundings and ate probably the most delicious pork pie I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating – bought from the cafe on site of course.

We saw the Temple of Fame, strolled to the Octagon Tower and enjoyed the respite of the cool Serpentine Tunnel on the blisteringly warm day.

The banqueting hall was another favourite of mine, unfortunately, there was no banquet happening when we turned up…It’s fascinating to me how these people of such wealth lived their lives.

Riverside paths lead to the deer park, home to deer and ancient trees. We didn’t get round to exploring the park, because it’s such a huge place and the day was quickly disappearing. Should we visit again we’ll make more of an effort to see everything!

What makes this place even more special is that it is considered a World Heritage Site. This is the first of this kind that Lucy and I have visited.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but our National Trust memberships have been the best investment for us. We’ve had some amazing adventures and incredible experiences. I’d highly recommend investing in a membership if you’re interested in this sort of place, it saves you tonnes on entrance fees!

Tom.